As Hungarian Prime Minister/irredeemable asshole Viktor Orban proves even harder to dislodge than Bibi Netanyahu, the American right-wing press heralds his most recent re-election "as a victory against secularism and wokeness" and "an example for the Western world." I've always said we live in a sick, immoral, and decadent society, but Mr. Orban is the very emblem of that decadence, not a warrior against it. And all the folks who think the absurdly high costs of rent, college, child care, and health care aren't the "real" problem with our society, but some kid who prefers "they" as a pronoun is? They're nothing more than Useful Idiots for decadence.
Cory Doctorow asserts that "gig companies" are either "violating employment law, or they’re violating antitrust." "(A) neglected -- and powerful -- aspect of antitrust is its prohibition on 'vertical restraint': when a company seeks to control the business of its suppliers," he writes, and when corporations like Uber and Doordash prevent their "contractors" (who are their suppliers, essentially) from working for other corporations or setting prices they can charge customers, that's "control(ling) the business of its suppliers." So: big gig corporations violate minimum wage and health care laws if they call their employees "employees," and violate antitrust law if they call them "contractors." They obviously counted on never seeing another President who'd go after monopolies. Ha ha!
For those of you keeping score at home, Starbucks workers at 200 stores have now filed for union elections, with at least 13 of them successfully forming one. Starbucks has nearly 9,000 stores in the United States (with close to 6,500 more that it licenses to operate within other stores), but note well that workers hit the 100-store milestone in close to six months and then hit the second 100 in a hair under seven weeks. Starbucks is still pretty powerful, and surely can peel off inattentive workers with even the stupid arguments they've made so far, so I wish these folks the best in their efforts to organize one of the largest chain-store corporations in America.
This article describing Congressional candidate Daniel Lee's work on the Culver City Council successfully enacting rent control, tenant protection, and single-family home zoning ordinances during the last few years may be even more valuable revealing the workings of one of Mr. Lee's main opponents, the notorious "assassin journalist" Ron Bassilian. (So does he shoot journalists, or is he a journalist who shoots other people? The world may never know.) Mr. Bassilian founded Protect Culver City -- which sure sounds innocuous enough, until you ask from whom -- and describes himself as a "moderate," but not only did he write an early "alt-right" tract and spew racist filth on Twitter, he just so happens to be most energized by things that also offend Our Glorious Elites, who don't want any of the little people to tell them they can't charge whatever they want for rent! In short, he's another Useful Idiot for corporate power pretending to be jes' folks.
When you read about Great Plains farmers fighting the prospect of a network of CO2 pipelines crossing their land, with the aim of pushing carbon emissions deep into the ground like that's going to undo climate change, you may be compelled to wonder what all the "salt of the earth" types who preen in Congress think about that. Don't they love the small farmer above all else? Don't they have a unique connection to those people, and to the land? More likely these peacocks will dismiss the grievances of actual small farmers as "special interest agitation" or conflate them with the Lakota "terrorists" who have fought alongside small farmers against previous pipelines. (And not for nothing, but most corporations won't even sequester the "recovered" emissions in the ground, but use them in future fossil-fuel projects.)
Finally, Stanford University engineers develop solar panels that can work at night. Solar cells actually have a lower temperature than the air around them at night, so by attaching a thermoelectric generator to a solar cell, you can produce a small amount of electricity. While some observers say you can't produce very much electricity this way, the Stanford engineers say they see "no intrinsic difficulties" in scaling up their product so that it can produce a lot of power; I suspect the truth is in the middle, which would still represent progress. Now watch the Fox News crowd guffaw over the prospect of "solar panels at night," like they think their own ignorance is a power source.